Operation Dry Water – June 23-25, 2017

This three day event is part of a national ad campaign on the effects and dangers of drinking and boating. Campaign includes increased law enforcement on the water, safety checks and boater contacts.

Iowa law prohibits anyone from boating while intoxicated (BWI). This includes the operation of any vessel or manipulation of any water skis, surfboard, or similar device while under the influence of alcohol; marijuana, a narcotic, hypnotic, or other drug; or any combination of these substances. Alcohol and drugs cause impaired balance, blurred vision, poor coordination, impaired judgement and slower reaction time. 

Iowa late states that a person is considered to be boating while intoxicated (BWI) if he or she:

  • is under the influence of alcohol or other drug or a combination of such substances or...
  • has a blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more or...
  • has any amount of a controlled substance present in his or her person, as measured in blood or urine.

Wear It Iowa

Wear It Iowa Logo The “Wear It Iowa” program is part of a national campaign designed to educate boaters on the importance of wearing a lifejacket while recreating on or near the water. At least 84% of fatalities nationwide involved individuals who were not wearing a life jacket.

The Boating Education program is committed to providing Iowans with important resources and messages that save lives.

Special Event Permits

A permit is required for regattas, motorboat or other boat races, marine parades, tournaments, or exhibitions etc. to be held on Iowa state waters. Permits must be received by the event organizer at least 30 days in advance of the event. If the event is being held on federally controlled waters, a permit from the U.S. Coast Guard is required.

Boating Laws and Responsibilities

The official Iowa boater safety handbook introduces you to laws governing boating and provides general information about safe operation on Iowa waters. 

Iowa's Handbook of
Boating Laws and Responsibilities
[Web Version]

2017 Recreational Boating Incidents

Last Updated: 06/12/2017  

Personal Injuries              5
Property Damage 8
Fatalities 2
2016 Recreational Boating Incidents

Personal Injuries              18
Property Damage 13
Fatalities 6
+ Accidents - When to Report, and How
+ Additional Boating Resources

Canoeing and Kayaking

Iowa has a variety of rivers, creeks, and lakes offering a number of different types of experiences for the beginner to the expert paddler. Canoeing and Kayaking in Iowa can offer year round enjoyment.

Learn more about the 18,000 miles of navigable streams that  await exploration by curious paddlers from across the state, and how to enjoy them safely.

Hull Identification Numbers

Have questions regarding Hull Identification numbers?

We have you covered:
Hull Identification Number FAQ

Going Boating in Another State?

If you are going boating out of the state of Iowa, some states have additional requirements for out of state boaters. Please reference the Boating Outside of Iowa document for these requirements.